Liverpool lose to Real Madrid: Five things learned as Reds suffer Champions League agony


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Liverpool fell at the final hurdle in their bid to notch a seventh Champions League triumph on Saturday night. Instead, Real Madrid completed their remarkable European campaign by defying the odds yet again, pulling out a 1-0 victory to earn a staggering 14th title. On the whole, there was plenty to take from a hugely eventful evening of action in Paris.

Organisers to face backlash

Those in charge of Saturday’s final at the Stade de France are certain to face fierce backlash after chaotic scenes outside the stadium. Kick-off was delayed twice as supporters were held in a virtual standstill, and riot police released tear gas. 

Some Liverpool fans were still trying to gain entry to the stadium at half-time after splashing out on tickets. To top it off, UEFA’s kick-off delay message, which appeared to place blame on fans who had supposedly turned up late for the crunch clash, did not go down well at all. 

Mane decision crucial

This week Sadio Mane refused to clarify whether he would sign a contract extension at Liverpool, instead promising to reveal all after the Champions League final. Regardless of the result, that announcement will be hotly-anticipated after an energetic showing from the Senegalese forward. 

Mane rose to the occasion, looking as lively as ever and buzzing all over the pitch, and he would have opened the scoring but for a Thibaut Courtois wonder-save. Bayern Munich are among those reported to be interested in his services, but Reds fans will pray that he delivers good news instead. 

Diaz gamble didn’t pay off

Selecting the perfect attack to complete the trio alongside Mane and Mohamed Salah was one of Jurgen Klopp’s biggest decisions heading into Saturday’s final. The boss went with recent form in Luis Diaz, rather than the goal-scoring prowess of Diogo Jota or the big-game intelligence of Roberto Firmino. 

It didn’t pay off. Diaz has been superb since arriving at Anfield in January, but he struggled to influence the game in Paris when the big stage beckoned. Eventually, Klopp decided to cut his losses in the 65th minute and throw Jota into the mix, calling time on the Colombian’s run-out. 

Trent fell agonisingly short

Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr has terrorised plenty of full-backs en route to this year’s Champions League final. Trent Alexander-Arnold was determined to be one of the exceptions, and the Brazilian didn’t get much change out of the Reds right-back for the majority of the tie. 

But Alexander-Arnold’s defensive reputation is far from perfect, and his display was agonisingly short of immaculate in Paris. With Los Blancos on the break, the Englishman lost sight of Vinicius before playing him onside at the far post, and the youngster finished a simple tap-in. 

Courtois conjures timeless performance

It is anyone’s guess how the Real Madrid stopper kept a clean sheet at the Stade de France. Vinicius’ strike is the one that’ll go down in the history books, but Courtois’ first-half save from Mane was nothing short of spectacular. 

And his heroics did not stop there. After the break, he stopped a curling Salah effort that was bound for the bottom corner before somehow palming away a close-range effort from the Egyptian in the closing stages. 


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